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nephrotic syndrome

By Anonymous June 3, 2010 - 8:41pm
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My sister has nephortic syndrome and what is a treatment?

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HERWriter Guide

Anon - Thanks for writing on behalf of your sister.

Nephrotic syndrome occurs when the kidneys let protein leak into the urine. When this happens, there is too little protein in the blood. Low protein in the blood allows fluid to leak out of the blood stream and into body tissues.

Nephrotic syndrome is not a disease itself. It's a set of signs and symptoms that indicate another disease has damaged the kidneys, and they are no longer working properly.

The syndrome is caused by damage to tiny filters in the kidneys, called glomeruli. The glomeruli filter waste and excess water from the blood forming urine, which reaches the bladder via the ureters. Diseases that damage the glomeruli cause nephrotic syndrome.

Nephrotic syndrome is a collection of the following signs and symptoms:

■High protein in the urine
■Low protein in the blood
■Swelling of body tissues
■High cholesterol in the blood

Diseases that may lead to nephrotic syndrome include:

■Glomerulonephritis (inflammation of the glomeruli from infection or other causes)
■Diabetic nephropathy (kidney complications from long-standing diabetes)
■Membranous nephropathy
■Renal amyloidosis (abnormal protein deposits in the kidneys)
■Other diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus , certain infections, toxins, allergic reactions, sickle cell disease , renal vein thrombosis, some types of cancer, and other diseases

Treatment depends on what's causing the nephrotic syndrome. Some cases are treatable with medication, while others lead to kidney failure despite treatment. Besides directly treating the underlying cause, if possible, steps are taken to:

■Adjust diet to replace protein lost in the urine
■Use ACE inhibitors to reduce protein loss (in some cases)
■Treat edema by restricting salt intake and taking diuretics (water pills)
■Lower cholesterol and blood pressure with diet, exercise, and medications

If the kidneys stop functioning, dialysis or a kidney transplant is needed. A dialysis machine filters waste and excess water from the blood. Dialysis may be done until kidney function improves or a transplant is available.

Most conditions that lead to nephrotic syndrome cannot be prevented. However, the risk of type 2 diabetes may be reduced through exercise and weight control.

Here are some resources that can help you and your family better understand your sister's condition and how you can support her.

American Kidney Fund

National Kidney Foundation


June 4, 2010 - 5:11pm
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